I’ve been making some my favourite preserve, tomato jam. When I first moved here, I planted a garden of heirloom tomatoes and it seems the tomatoes became one of those things I was most proud of from the garden. The varieties are so unusual, beautiful to look at and the taste is delicious – truly the taste of a real tomato. I put a lot of tomatoes away each year primarily by roasting them. I spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, rub a bit of olive oil on them and put them in a 300 degree oven for several hours. They are done when they are shriveled and some of the juices have evaporated. I cool them and put them into ziplock bags or freezer containers or in vacuum sealer bags.
One year I had so many tomatoes I looked for something different to make and tried a tomato jam recipe. I ended up with a few different recipes that I liked and combined them into one I now use most of the time. (Although every year I might try a slight variation.) The downside of tomato jam is that basically one pound of tomatoes gets boiled down into one 250 ml jar! When I think about this concentration of tomatoes, it makes no sense to make it and include it in our Farm Flavours. But I do make it and I do include a few jars in our Farm Flavour shop. What I love about the jam is that it is really a pure taste of tomatoes slightly enhanced by the sugar, vinegar and spices. I use this jam sparingly on cooked chicken, cheese, alongside a roasted vegetable (or straight out of the jar with a spoon…)
Sadly this year, with the rain and location of where I planted this year, I did not have a tomato crop and have relied on local farmers for a supply. I’ve made a few batches these past weeks and plan for more in the coming weeks – especially now that the main summer season is over. Although with the beautiful weather – it is hard to be inside at the canning pot. Try making some of your own and feel free to experiment!
- 1 1/2 lbs of tomatoes of all shapes and colours. Chop them coarsely. I leave the cores in.
- 3/4 – 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice or cider vinegar 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- a pinch of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 hot pepper – I use the thai chilli peppers finely chopped
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir often! Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam. This can take an hour or more. Be careful not to burn the pot.
Ladle into hot sterilized jars and follow the instructions for canning. I boil the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes.